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Physical Therapy Malpractice: What You Should Know

Physical Therapist Malpractice

You went to a physical therapist to feel better, but instead, you were injured and now feel worse. Your injury may even have resulted in permanent loss of function or disability! It's possible that what happened to you constitutes medical malpractice in Oregon. While most medical malpractice suits are brought against physicians, other health care providers, including physical therapists, can also be liable for medical malpractice. (Depending on the circumstances, a doctor or facility may be liable as well.)

As with all other types of medical malpractice, there are four elements that must be satisfied:

  • The physical therapist owes a duty of care;
  • The physical therapist committed some breach of the duty;
  • You suffered some harm;
  • The therapist's breach was the cause of the harm.

Types of Physical Therapist Malpractice

Physical therapy malpractice can happen anywhere physical therapists work: hospitals, nursing homes, private clinics, or homes. Depending on the nature of the injury, it may be immediately obvious that something is wrong, or signs may be more subtle. Some common examples of physical therapy malpractice include:

  • Leaving patients unattended on therapy equipment
  • Dropping patients
  • Using broken or damaged equipment
  • Over-extending a patient's joints
  • Ignoring a patient's complaints of pain or signs that a non-verbal patient is in pain
  • Failing to properly inform patients of the risks of treatment
  • Failing to supervise patients during therapy
  • Failing to conduct therapy in accordance with physician's orders
  • Committing deliberate physical or sexual assault of a patient

Injuries that can result from this type of malpractice include broken bones, strains or sprains, torn ligaments, concussions, bruising, strokes, back or spinal cord injury, and even heart attack or stroke. Severe injury may cause or exacerbate mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.

Physical therapy malpractice is a particular problem in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, where physical therapy is on the increase among residents. Many of these patients are frail, have memory issues, or have difficulty communicating. Therapists who are negligent in performing therapeutic exercises with patients may fail to pick up on cues that they are causing injury, and the patients may be unable to report it.

An ethical, experienced Oregon medical malpractice attorney will offer you a free consultation and an honest assessment of whether a physical therapy malpractice case is worth pursuing. You have only a limited time in which to make a claim, so we invite you to contact Huegli Fraser PC for a free, confidential initial consultation. We look forward to answering your questions.

Blog Disclaimer

The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not make a decision whether or not to contact a qualified medical malpractice attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with a competent medical malpractice attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

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Portland, Oregon, medical malpractice and personal injury attorney James Hu… Read More

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